Officer's Widow Offers Words of Compassion, Support to Patrick Family

Updated: 08/07/2014 7:29 AM
Created: 08/06/2014 9:57 PM
By: Beth McDonough

Tributes for fallen Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick were held Wednesday, one week after he was shot and killed during a traffic stop. It's an especially difficult time for his wife, Michelle, who no one wants to refer to as a widow -- not yet.

She isn't alone in her grief; Jennifer Silvera Lindemer can relate. Her husband, Lino Lakes police officer Shawn Silvera, was killed in 2005 while trying to stop carjackers.

"It’s such a numbing feeling. It brings me back to nine years ago when Shawn died ... just an absolute emptiness for the family," Silvera Lindemer said.

It’s a void the mother of two babies, at the time, didn't expect at the tender age of 32.

"We did not think our lives were going to end when it was just the beginning," she said. "It changes your life in a heartbeat; it changes your life in an instant without choice or decision." 

It's a widow's journey she wrote about first in a journal, and then she wrote a book called “Believe.”

"Really, my therapy was writing, a place to put the pain. It was so much to hold it inside. If I could get it out, it would bring a little bit of comfort," she said.

For herself and others, like Michelle Patrick and her two teenage daughters, she said, “It's such an influential age to lose a parent; it’s such extreme trauma, and my heart goes out to everyone.”

She says Minnesota’s chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors, along with the Law Enforcement Memorial Association, helped her young family early on. 

Since then, a highway and park have been named after Officer Shawn Silvera. Her children attend a yearly summer camp for kids who've lost a parent in law enforcement. When they get older, the cost of college will also be covered for them in Minnesota.

"The loss never goes away, but you incorporate it into your current life," Silvera Lindemer said.

Silvera Lindemer has since remarried and moved to a new area. However, she says you don't really move on, you learn to deal.

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